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North Korea: American to go on trial soon

PYONGYANG, North Korea -- North Korea said today it will soon put a detained American on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow the government, further complicating already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

The indictment of Kenneth Bae comes in the middle of something of a lull after weeks of war threats and other provocative acts by North Korea against the United States and South Korea. It has expressed rage over UN sanctions over a February nuclear test and ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills, though analysts say Pyongyang's motive is to get its Korean War foes to negotiate on its own terms.

Bae, identified in North Korean state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator of Korean descent who was arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov. 3 in Rason, a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. He is the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009.

The other Americans were eventually deported or released after high-profile diplomatic interventions.

"In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it. His crimes were proved by evidence," the official Korean Central News Agency said. DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Under North Korea's criminal code, terrorist acts including murdering, kidnapping and injuring the country's citizens can lead to a death sentence or life in jail. -- AP

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